BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15, during which Americans commemorate the histories, cultures and contributions of citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
This year’s theme for Hispanic Heritage Month was “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope”. As stated by Victor Anthony Zertuche, an attorney-advisor at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “it provides us the opportunity to reflect on those who came before us and held onto hope to create a better tomorrow. It inspires us to recognize that we are stronger together and reminds us that, although we are apart, with hope we are not alone .”
When Zertuche mentions the strength that Latinos have, it is worth reflecting on the mental health problems they face, which are often overlooked. For example, according to Mental Health America, 18.3% of the U.S. population is estimated to be Latino or Hispanic, of those, over 16% reported having a mental illness in the past year, that is over 10 million people, more than the number of people who live in New York City .
In an effort to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccination process and improve mental well-being among neighbors in Washington D.C., activities were held and continue throughout the month to commemorate. Please visit the Smithsonian web page for more information .